Lynn Messina is horrified. She sent her four-year-old son to preschool, and he came back wanting to be a gentleman.
Can you imagine? They are teaching Emmett how to respect girls. They want him to be courteous and even chivalrous.
Emmett has been told that, at recess, boys should allow girls to use the restroom first.
While most sensible parents will applaud this tendency, a good feminist like Messina gets outraged.
In her words:
But I don’t think it’s an overreaction to resent the fact that your son is being given an extra set of rules to follow simply because he’s a boy. His behavior, already constrained by a series of societal norms, now has additional restrictions. Worse than that, he’s actively being taught to treat girls differently, something I thought we all agreed to stop doing, like, three decades ago. That the concept of selective privilege has been introduced in preschool of all places — the inner sanctum of fair play, the high temple of taking turns — is mind-boggling to me. How can you preach the ethos of sharing at the dramatic play center and ignore it 20 feet away at the toilet?
Obviously, Messina is a fanatic. Only a true-believing cult follower could go into such high dudgeon over a point of etiquette. If Messina thinks that gender disparity in the workplace is being caused by the fact that boys open doors for girls, then she is missing a few little gray cells.
Messina responds to the indignity by trying to teach her son in the idiotic concept of the “gentlemanly girl.” But, she notices that this four-year-old boy is too smart to understand the concept of the “gentlemanly girl.”
I assume that Messina is auditioning for a role on the new game show: Are you smarter than a preschooler?
But then, she espies an event that gives her hope for her boy.
…when, a few hours later in the park, I see him grab his soccer ball from a girl his own age, I feel a ridiculous rush of relief at his ungentlemanly behavior.
There you have it, folks. In Feministland it is good for boys to take things from girls without their consent. Young Emmett is going to learn that his mother gets a “rush” when she sees him abusing a girl.
What if he were stealing a kiss? What if her were stealing something more valuable than a kiss? Would his mother get a “rush of relief” watching him act in a perfectly ungentlemanly way?
Messina plans to give her son yet another lecture on the ethic of sharing, but her son will learn more about her attitude by watching her get a thrill as he abuses a little girl.
When he grows up, he will be able to read all about it in the New York Times archive.